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Why choose U of A?

March 30, 2012

 It’s that time of year again, when prospective grad students compulsively check their email and mailboxes, hoping to see a “new mail” icon, or to find an official- looking envelope waiting for them.

That’s right, its acceptance/rejection letter time! For the lucky few that find themselves in the possession of multiple acceptance offers, a big decision looms in front of them. How do you go about choosing which grad school to call your home for the next couple years while you train to become an amazing speech language pathologist? While I cannot speak for the other 8 programs in Canada, having completed almost a year at the University of Alberta has given me an inside perspective on why the U of A is an excellent choice.

  1. The people: If you told me in my undergrad that I would one day be friends with everybody in my class, I might not have believed you. There are 57 students in the first year class, and though we have only known each other a short 7 months, we have grown very close and consider each other family! Travelling to a new city can be daunting, especially if you don’t know anyone where you are going; however, rest assured that you will make friends with the people in your year. The group projects, committee activities and social outings guarantee it!
  2. The faculty: The SLP program at the U of A is comprised of the best. The professors, advisors, and staff are continually helping us to succeed and reach our full potential. They continually check in with us to make sure we are feeling well-supported and on top of our academic and research work. Each student is assigned to an advisor that acts as that student’s contact point for any issue that may arise, be it academic or non academic.
  3. The research: Students are given the option of completing a thesis or a capstone research project under the supervision of one of the faculty members. This ensures that everyone gets some valuable research experience, but allows you to decide how you will carry this out, either individually or in small groups.
  4. The experience: Getting hands on clinical experience is an important part of the program, and the U of A SLP program allows for much flexibility in this domain. All students are involved in the clinic located at Corbett during the spring and summer sessions of the first year. The fall semester of the second year also involves some clinical practise, but the major clinical experiences take place in the winter, spring and summer terms of the second year. In total, students get between 151 and 191 days of clinical experience, the most out of any program in Canada. The clinical coordinator works to ensure that each student not only gets the right amount of experience in each of the important areas, but also that each student gets to carry out their externships where they want to.  While the exact location is not guaranteed, the coordinator works extremely hard to satisfy everyone, and it is often the case that students who are from out of province get to return home! There are even opportunities for international placements!
  5. The unique opportunities: The program at the University of Alberta presents many unique opportunities, for example, the cadaver labs that are part of the anatomy course. While this seems intimidating, it was actually an extremely valuable learning experience that really helped with the course. How many other grad students can say they have examined a real human larynx!
  6. The facility: The SLP program is housed mostly in Corbett Hall, a historic building dating back to 1928. It has gone through renovations since then, and now houses PT, OT and SLP students. Our lab contains many different teaching models and tonnes of technology that we get hands on practise with, as we learn how to measure all aspects of speech.

I can remember excitedly opening my letter and making the decision to pursue my future career as an SLP at the U of A, and overall, I haven’t been disappointed!

Good luck to all the potential new students!

– Adele Courchesne

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bobby permalink
    March 30, 2012 2:49 pm

    Great read!

  2. Sareena permalink
    November 3, 2012 12:27 pm

    Hi! I’m considering applying to U of A for SLP but am curious about the International Placements. I am Canadian, however my fiance lives in the USA – how flexible/helpful is U of A about allowing the last two clinical semesters take place in the US?

    • November 4, 2012 4:44 pm

      Hi Sareena! You should definitely apply, its a great program. There are opportunities for international placements, several students are going to New Zealand and Australia this year! Unfortunately, unless you are a US citizen, immigration laws prevent US placements from happening 😦

      • Sareena permalink
        November 4, 2012 6:35 pm

        Thanks for responding so promptly!

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